When you consider all the components of a digital marketing strategy, it’s likely you’ll think of social media, Google advertising, and your website. One of the most overlooked aspects for local businesses is the importance of digital listings.
We’ve all used sites like Google, Bing, Yelp, YP, and several others when searching for businesses in our area, but these listings are so much more than just a place users go to find contact information for companies in their area. In fact, these listings are the building blocks of your entire digital strategy.
Even if you understand the importance of having a presence on these “directories,” it’s not just enough to fill in the blanks. There’s a real method to maximizing the potential that these sites can have for your broader web visibility. In this article, I’ll explain why implementing a local listings management system can be beneficial.
It Creates Consistency Across All Directories
When you first begin uploading your business’s information to online directories, it’s likely that you’ll start inputting things like your address, business name, phone number, and any other relevant details to a business in your industry.
If you’re going through a number of different directories, for example Google My Business, Bing, Yelp, YP, among many others, it’s not just enough to have a profile – it needs to be fully consistent across each directory.
Even slight deviations, such as using “Rd.” vs. “Road,” for example, can have serious consequences. Here’s why: Search engines are tasked with sorting through millions of potential results when a user performs a search. The easiest way to start result options is by finding the ones that can be deemed ‘unreliable.’ For an algorithm, inconsistency = unreliability.
Utilizing a listings management platform gives you the advantage of knowing that your information is fully consistent wherever it’s found on the internet. How so? You only have to enter it one time.
You Cover All the Directories In One Place
You’d be hard-pressed to name all the directories on which your business could or should appear. Sure, there big ones like Google and Yelp are fairly straightforward, but there are a number of industry-specific platforms that you’ll likely overlook if you haven’t seen them before.
A good listings platform will allow you to select your industry, and then will do the heavy lifting for you. For example, if you’re a restaurant, your data will populate on a site like Zomato, which is a directory for restaurants only.
You might wonder what the advantage is of having your business on a platform where few users are looking for answers. It’s a fair question, but the answer is fairly straightforward: even if potential customers aren’t viewing a particular listing, search engine algorithms are always crawling these sites. When you add another consistent, fully built-out listing, you’re reinforcing the reliability of your business. This can have major SEO implications, which means increased traffic and overall visibility for your brand.
Changes and Updates Are Applied Across the Board
Throughout the life of any business, things like addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, etc., invariably and inevitably change. If you aren’t taking advantage of a listings platform, you’ll be tasked with going in and updating every single directory manually – good luck remembering them all.
If you’ve set up a listings platform, on the other hand, making these important updates could not be easier. You’ll only need to update one directory, and all of the others on which your business is listed will also be updated. This helps with keeping things consistent, but also ensures that a customer isn’t going to find an old listing and call a phone number that’s no longer operational.
Any time your business makes a change (even something as simple as a new contact email address), it’s a challenge to overcome. Don’t compound the problem by having to go into directory listings you set up who-knows-how-long-ago and updating your information or risk getting penalized by algorithms who aren’t able to recognize you simply forgot you had a listing on a certain site.
It Helps SEO Significantly
One of the biggest points of contention when it comes to digital marketing is the lack of understanding around what exactly goes into SEO. Industry experts are typically aware of the criteria, but your average business owner who isn’t well-versed in algorithmic preferences might struggle to recognize what’s important and what’s not.
When it comes to a local business, SEO begins with having accurate information and builds from there. Simply having consistent business details across a range of different platforms is arguably more important than any number of blog posts with backlinks, social media content, or any of the other usual suspects that factor into SEO. If you use a listings platform, you can ace this part of the search optimization test easily and efficiently.
It’s Easy to Use and Inexpensive
Small businesses don’t have bottomless ad budgets like the big brands. Maximizing every available dollar is critical, especially for brands who are trying to grow. You might not be able to afford a $1,000/month ad budget to use on social media, but you can make up for it by posting high-quality content regularly. Similarly, you may not have thousands for Google ads, but you can improve your SEO for a fraction of that.
Most listing platform systems are less than $200/month. When you consider the impact that it can have, it’s difficult to find a more cost-efficient product throughout the world of digital marketing.
Running a business is enough work without a forgotten-about listing on a directory site pulling you down. Considering the low-cost of a listings management platform, this particular investment might be one of the most efficient uses of your digital marketing budget – especially if that budget isn’t a particularly large amount in the first place.
If your business could benefit from a partner to help you through the setup and management of your digital directory listings, get in touch today to find a solution that works for your goals while staying within your budget.